Professor, Sita Maiya Singh Thapa, Faculty of Law, Tribhuwan University, who has the distinction of being the first Nepali national to have obtained a doctoral degree in the environmental aspect of the labor law from Delhi University more than a decade back, is in the teaching profession since three decades plus.

Ms. Thapa opines that she wants her students not to feel inferior any where in the world. After such a long period in the teaching profession, she says it is impossible to recall all of her students, however, some who have come to the front in the recent past are Advocate Sapana Pradhan Malla and Mr. Khim Lal Devkota.

“There should be coordination between Western Development and Eastern Philosophy”, says the professor adding, “I told this point blank to the then US ambassador to Nepal, Julia Chang Bloch”. She recalls, “it should have been around 1990, Ambassador Bloch had invited some IVP-ians (International Visitor Program) who had retuned home after a short stint in the US that year”.

“I liked your country a lot Your Excellency…there are many things to learn from the US, though there are also many things that you too can learn from Nepal”, she told the lady ambassador whenever she and her friends used to be invited for a dinner or a lunch in Kamaladi, Kathmandu- where the US ambassador resides.

“I always believe that we are rich in our culture, tradition and our social lives are very strong however, they (the US citizens) are very efficient in their works yet they do not have what could be adjudged as a better social life…this is why I think East and West have a lot to share and exchange”, Ms. Thapa who is coincidentally the Second Women Professor of Law next only to Prof. Dr. Shanta Thapaliya, adds..

Hard to believe but during her school days she was interested in Mathematics, “I would have become an Engineer, however, I did not let myself down, and I achieved a Bachelors degree in Science with Biology major (1970)”.

“I then joined the economics department and acquired a Bachelors degree in Economics. I did not stop there…then, I joined the Law faculty to obtain a Bachelors of Law degree (1975-76).

Proudly says Dr. Thapa who is known in the Law Campus as “Thapa Madame”, “what ever I did in my life I have succeeded so far…no failure…I have always lived with dignity and honor…I never bowed down to any one”.

“I believe in religion but I am not superstitious and I also believe in complete personal liberty of the human being…I hate those who cheat and speak double”.

Ms. Thapa received the prestigious Mahendra Bhidya Bhusan award twenty five years back. She has also served the faculty of Law as the Assistant Dean for five years and acted as acting-dean for a mere 45 days.

However, the lady who has achieved so much talking on academic grounds in her life has some pains in her heart that she claims is the result of the patriarchal setup of the society.

“I have been discriminated only because I am a woman”, she declares. “I am academically sound, my vast experience in the field of teaching has no meaning in this society”, she admits very frankly.

“A Woman in herself is power…yet the society where we live in have forcefully made us to forget what we are in reality”. “We are capable of doing what men are capable of accomplishing”, says the lady Professor who has in her entire life matched with equal strength the male counterparts in her professional life. “But when it comes to providing women a chance, the patriarchal society shows its real color of conservatism”, she laments.

“But I am not going to remain quiet…I will show them what my potentials were”, she says.

“The notions of women empowerment, reservation for women are all but fake promises”.

“There are various ways to empower a woman…political, social, economic, and religious and also not to forget empowering a woman right within the fortified walls of a home”.

“Look there are nine different faculties in the Tribhuwan University…yet, there is not a single women who is the departmental head…it is not that the women in the teaching profession are not academically and professionally sound…indeed they are, but they are never given a chance to lead”. Here lay the real issue.

“The TU has merely become a place to practice nepotism, exercise politics and make political appointments”.

I firmly believe that politics should remain out of public places more so from the teaching profession.

“Such are the issues of public interests and the constitution has already pledged for fair practices yet in reality they are not practiced…they have been just limited to words”. The disparity thus continues.

“It is for this reason that I have recently filed a writ petition at the Supreme Court…my intention is very clear, I want TU to remain free from all the mal-practices that are there in abundance…I want gender justice against gender based discrimination in all the public sectors”.

“In the supreme Court too there are only three women judges,…there are gender based discrimination in all the public organs of State, however, I must admit that the Supreme court in the recent past has made some landmark decisions as regards the rights of the women that are commendable”.

Thapa Madame has a book to her credit which was published in the year 1991 entitled, “An introduction to Labor Law of Nepal”. Similarly, she has written several articles on the topic of Violence against Women and is currently editor-in-chief of the “Our Heritage Magazine”.

Finally, at a painting exhibition organized by the NAFA in the year 1983, Thapa Madame was declared the winner out of 465 contestants.

2008-07-09 07:45:26